The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published new guidance on building condition reports for the sale and purchase of commercial property, with the aim of enhancing transparency and improving health and safety information.

The first edition of Technical Due Diligence of Commercial Property — which will become the version to use for all regulated members and firms globally on 1 April 2020 — replaces the following previous guidance:

  • Building Surveys and Technical Due Diligence of Commercial Property, England and Wales (4th edition)

  • Technical Due Diligence of Commercial and Industrial Property, Australia (1st edition)

  • Technical Due Diligence of Commercial and Industrial Property, New Zealand (1st edition)

  • Technical Due Diligence of Commercial, Industrial and Residential Property in Continental Europe (1st edition).

The purpose of the guidance is to ensure that all technical due diligence reports are standardised across the globe while bringing clarity to a prospective purchaser, occupier or financier about any risks associated with a transaction of a property from a technical perspective.

The new guidance recognises that chartered surveyors often take the lead in the technical due diligence process, liaising directly with specialist sub-consultants and co-ordinating multidiscipline inspections.

In the latest edition, guidance about health and safety and fire safety has been reinforced. Under the new guidance, all members or firms should clearly stipulate any defects that require “immediate” action, or foreseeable defects that could pose a danger. If any such defects are listed, the appropriate person, eg the building owner or facilities manager, should be contacted as soon as reasonably possible to allow appropriate action to be taken. A “traffic light” risk rating is also now included in the new version of the guidance, highlighting to clients the areas that require appropriate action in order of importance.

Craig Ross, RICS Associate Director of the Built Environment, said, “In recent years, tragic events have occurred, which have highlighted the importance of maintaining and understanding buildings in the operation and use phases, placing further importance on the role of a chartered surveyor in building management and technical due diligence.

“This latest guidance underlines to our professionals the need for maintained standards and greater consistency in managing health and safety and fire safety across the globe.”

Last reviewed 14 January 2020